Story in Brief
Many smaller operations in Liberty County needed some basic business planning tips and helpful resources to better their business and help overcome some newer hurdles as well. The UGA Extension agent learned that almost all the operations had no idea how to even set a price on their products correctly or tell if they covered all their costs effectively. The solution to the issues is not teaching a set way of doing a business plan because every operation is different. The way to jump these hurdles is giving businesses the tools to then apply them to their own business. Without these basic tools, new agribusinesses could fail before they start and even established ones could be less profitable in the long run. The agent decided the way to help address this issue would be to have a program centered on how an agribusiness or someone wanting to start one or those who have agribusiness clients could approach building up some key portions of their business plan, as well as being exposed to contacts that could help them grow. The program started out being just locally based. Then with the transfer to mainly virtual programming because of COVID-19, the agent decided to broaden the geographic range of the class. The classes were free via Zoom on Tuesday evenings throughout the month of July. Each week focused on different areas of an agribusiness. To register, participants would follow a Zoom link that lead them to a pre-program survey. This survey had questions centered on the topics the program was set to cover. The responses to that survey were sent to the speakers at least one week prior to their portion of the classes. The sessions covered marketing and sales, licensing requirements, and enterprise budgets and financial topics. Sessions recordings, along with handouts, were emailed to each registrant. Survey results showed that the Agribusiness Basics Workshop Series helped some registrants understand their clients better and some save money, while also showing others different avenues they can take their products down to sell them. One registrant who ran a farmers market said, "The class helped me understand some of the struggles my vendors face. I have been hesitant to reach out to growers and other vendors at other markets because I thought they were too busy and would not be interested. Now I know that they rely on as many markets as they can get to, to even put bread on the table. I plan to help market these vendors even more now that I understand how critical the market is to my vendors."